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Scripps Networks See 20% Volume Increase in First Upfront

Michael Teicher Scripps Networks Upfront
Michael Teicher, chief revenue officer at Scripps Networks (Image credit: Scripps Networks)

The new national networks division of E.W. Scripps said it chalked up a 20% increase in volume in its first combined upfront.

Scripps Networks is made up of the Katz Networks--Bounce, Court TV, Grit, Laff, plus the new networks Defy and TrueReal--plus Ion Media, which was acquired earlier this year.

Putting them together led to a meaningful increase in prices on a cost-per-thousand impression (CPM) basis and new clients on all networks. The new business represented about 25% of Scripps Networks’ upfront dollars this year and with no previous price base to work off, rates came in at levels that marked a new high for the networks.

This year’s upfront market was strong across the board, with broadcast networks seeing price increase in the 19% to 23% range and cable in the low to mid teens. But with ratings for traditional TV networks down, ad buyer were looking for new places to reach audiences, including connected TV. 

Scripps Networks pitched itself as a way to reach viewers who have cut the cable cord.

“It was a very successful first upfront for the combined assets of our new Scripps Networks. Like many linear television providers, we saw the benefits of having quality ratings points available for advertisers to purchase in the upfront,” said Michael Teicher, chief revenue officer at Scripps Networks. 

“More importantly, our portfolio approach providing unique reach and effective reach, scale and diverse audiences was extremely well received by our marketing partners. We added several dozen new advertisers across all of our networks, including our two newest brands, TrueReal and Defy,” Teicher said.

Scripps said that Ion posted double-digit growth in dollars and mid-teens growth in CPMs. About 20% of upfront ad dollars came in from new advertisers.

Upfront dollars were up more than 50% at Bounce, with CPMS up in a range from the high teens to the low 20s. 

As part of its pitch, Scripps introduced SURG--the Scripps Unduplicated Reach Generator--which was designed to show how many incremental viewers advertisers could reach by adding Scripps to their buys.  

“SURG was so well received by our clients that we are developing SURG 2.0,” Teicher said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting + Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.